Singapore non-IT execs struggle to get big return on Big Data

Robert Half research highlights the potential of Big Data for Singaporean businesses. Read more here.

  • 46% state their non-IT senior management team do not have enough knowledge about Big Data. 
  • 56% of Singaporean CIOs believe Big Data has the most impact on non-IT departments.
  • 51% say the biggest advantage of Big Data solutions within their organisation is data-driven/strategic decision-making and 48% say it will enhance their business models.  
  • 52% say the high cost of Big Data is the biggest challenge and 37% refer to data protection/security. 

While Big Data is a concept that is instinctively linked to IT, independent research commissioned by specialised recruitment company Robert Half demonstrates non-IT departments also stand to gain from Big Data insights yet such divisions haven’t been utilising it. This insight highlights the potential of Big Data and data analytics for Singaporean businesses. 

On the other side of the scale, when asked about the biggest challenges of using Big Data, 52% of CIOs say the primary challenge is the cost of data capture, followed by 37% who refer to data protection/security and 36% who say a lack of financial resources to fully implement Big Data processes is one of the biggest challenges. Another challenge to consider is the lack of personnel resources (33%) and skills shortage (32%), indicating Singaporean companies do not have the required expertise to operate Big Data processes. 

Adding to these challenges, almost half (46%) of CIOs think their non-IT senior management teams do not have enough knowledge about Big Data and the utilisation of data effectively within their organisation, thereby suggesting Singaporean businesses are still on their way to fully utilising Big Data processes. 

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director, Robert Half Singapore said: “The commercial world is still learning how to collect and harness the full potential of Big Data, yet already Big Data is revolutionising the way we do business and how we connect with customers.”

“Despite the challenges, leveraging Big Data goes beyond benefiting just the IT department. Singaporean businesses need to take an enterprise-wide approach, training and upskilling employees across different departments to recognise exactly what Big Data has to offer. Whether there is a need for additional professional development for existing IT staff, or hiring qualified IT professionals skilled in Big Data analytics, the long-term benefits of using this new technology will soon outweigh any immediate challenges.” 

While Big Data serves several purposes, data-driven/strategic decision-making (51%), new and enhanced business models (48%) and cost reduction (45%) are cited as the top three advantages by Singaporean CIOs. 

What are the biggest challenges when using Big Data within your organisation?

High costs 52%
Data protection/security 37%
Financial resources 36%
Personnel resources 33%
Technical considerations 33%
Skills shortage 32%
Lack of understanding of the added value/potential 25%
Organisational processes  19%
Management processes 15%
Regulatory challenges 15%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 100 CIOs – three answers per respondent.

While more than four in ten (44%) Singaporean CIOs say Big Data and data analytics have more of a direct impact on IT, almost one in five (19%) believe it has more influence on their operations department. Another 19% say it has a more marked effect on their sales and marketing function, while little over one in 10 (12%) refer to the finance and accounting department. This implies the benefits of Big Data extend far beyond the confines of IT, and every department in a business can benefit. 

What are the biggest advantages of Big Data solutions for your organisation?

Data-driven/strategic decision-making 51%
New/enhanced business models 48%
Reduction in costs 45%
Better overview of operational processes 38%
New/enhanced products/services 35%
Improved customer service 27%
Market analysis and understanding 27%
Automated decision-making 23%
Revenue increase 6%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 100 CIOs – three answers per respondent.

“Setting up new systems to harvest Big Data can incur significant financial investment. However, once implemented and fully applied, the advantages can be significant in terms of cost efficiency and reduction. In order to fully leverage the advantages of Big Data, companies are increasingly relying on technology professionals who are not only highly skilled in data analytics, but who also have the business acumen and communication skills to convey to senior management and business leaders the best ways to use Big Data and the insights gained from using it.”

“Companies that don’t invest in Big Data need to be mindful that their competitors are probably already enjoying a competitive advantage as a result of utilising Big Data information,” Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard concluded.

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About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and conducted in April 2016 by an independent research company, surveying 100 CIOs/CTOs in Singapore. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace. 

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